Expanding the Academic Innovation Network

James DeVaney, Associate Vice Provost for Academic Innovation and Founding Executive Director, Center for Academic Innovation

What better time to clarify our vision for the future than an academic year that will take us into the year 2020! In the year ahead, the Center for Academic Innovation is looking for new opportunities to engage the higher education community in research, innovation, experimentation, and iteration. Along the way, we hope to stimulate a vibrant discussion around innovation, inclusivity, and impact in higher education.

To jump start the conversation, we are launching into September with one blog post a day. Today is the first of thirty blog posts that we will share leading up to a milestone announcement about our future on October 3rd. We hope you’ll journey with us as we highlight the innovators who are shaping the future of higher education and the impact of their work.

Along with innovators from the Center for Academic Innovation and faculty innovators across U-M, we are thrilled to feature guest blog posts this month from our friends at many incredible institutions and innovative organizations. Check back over the course of this month to read stories from colleagues at Davidson College, MIT, Emory University, Georgetown University, and Dartmouth College, and from organizations like Coursera, GSV Labs, FutureLearn, and the Holberton School. 

This past year has been a remarkable one for academic innovation at the University of Michigan. Our staff, student fellows, and faculty innovators have done an extraordinary job extending academic excellence and expanding the public purpose of this great university, all while striving to bring greater diversity to our initiatives and programs. Through blog posts over the course of this month and beyond, we’ll share some of the ways we hope to continue building momentum by expanding our U-M community of innovators, growing our portfolio of initiatives and programs, and helping to create a nationwide network for academic innovation.

Expanding our U-M Community of Innovators

We do our best work when we maximize community engagement and educational impact. The impact we have achieved thus far is a direct result of ensuring that our community reflects the diversity of the world we serve. Our portfolio has been developed in partnership with more than 100 student fellows, more than 200 faculty innovators, and represents all 19 of U-M’s colleges and schools. Through our Academic Innovation Fund, learning communities, and Academic Innovation at Michigan event series, we will continue to expand our community of innovators, because we know that students, faculty, staff, and alumni all have a role to play. We are also expanding our team with plans to hire more than forty new colleagues. 

Growing our Portfolio Initiatives and Programs

As we start the 2019-20 academic year we are proud of the reach of our portfolio. There are nearly 8 million enrollments in our massive open online courses (MOOCs) and educational technology developed by the Center has been used by 92 percent of current Michigan undergraduates. Earlier today we welcomed three new online and hybrid degree programs to our portfolio, which will continue to expand in the year ahead. Through new projects and partnerships we will expand this portfolio to further establish U-M as a leading institution shaping the future of learning and the future of higher education. We seek to leverage our strengths in graduate education, scale, and public purpose to establish new opportunities and new models of learning and engagement. 

Creating a Nationwide Network for Academic Innovation

We believe the future of education depends in part upon deep collaborations between institutions. Through programs and events like our Teach-Out Academy, Gameful Learning Summer Institute, and Data Showcase, we have exchanged learning models, new pedagogy, and R&D practices with partners at other great higher education institutions. Through our Coursera, edX, and Unizin partnerships, we have engaged deeply with innovators at other great institutions looking to shape the future of learning.

We are deeply committed to the discovery of what’s next and steadfast about sharing what we learn. In the year ahead we will look for new ways to bring together stakeholders across the higher education ecosystem to advance a much needed nationwide network for academic innovation. We are eager to support and participate in new partnerships around educational data and research, innovative pedagogy, technology, and design. 

Vision 2020

We are looking forward to an exciting 2019-20 academic year! Join us to learn and exchange ideas around research, innovation, experimentation, and iteration. We need your help to develop and realize a vision of the future that meets the needs of all learners! Check back in the month ahead as we share stories about expanding our community of innovators, expanding our innovation portfolio, and helping to establish and strengthen a nationwide network for academic innovation.

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